23 June 2013


In case you missed my last post, I have a ridiculous fall schedule of races.  In preparation for those events, I've started a training plan through RunKeeper (my FAVORITE running app) to achieve a sub-2:00 half marathon.  It's on pace to bring me there for Disneyland Half over the Dumbo Challenge weekend but I'm okay with not actually hitting that goal until Wine & Dine or even Space Coast. But it is kicking my a$$ with 5 runs a week, of varying distances and paces.

If you remember from my Running Crazy post, you'll also remember I am training for a 300 mile bike ride from NYC to DC - The Climate Ride. So some of the training miles for my sub-2 plan have been on the bike - mainly my long distances. I feel confident I can do 13.1 without running more than 8-10 miles beforehand, which are some of the mid-week distances so I don't feel like I'm compromising my plan or sacrificing runs swapping them out for bike miles. This is another reason I'm okay not hitting that time goal at Dumbo - since the ride is only 3 weeks later. 

Well, I noticed this morning as I was contemplating my workout for the day (because I also have to meet my GymPact each week) that I did 6 and change yesterday and had 13 on the schedule for today. I thought it would be a perfect preview for Dumbo. And might I say I think I killed those miles yesterday without too much of a sweat, figuratively speaking of course.  But then again, when I ran yesterday, it was overcast and drizzly, which helped keep me cool.  

I did not pop out of bed and dive into my run - partly because I haven't gotten any decent sleep this week and partly because I had no reason to get up early. When I checked the weather last night it was supposed to be pretty crappy today, so I was actually planning on hitting up the gym.  I got up and had a leisurely breakfast, caught on up some blog reading, and started hydrating. Around 2 I went out to grab some supplies from my gym bag in the car and noticed it was much warmer than I thought it was going to be. The sun had come out, contrary to weather reports, and warmed things up quite a bit.  But I thought I could manage my 13 with a few good tools: my first taste of energyBITS, nuun in my water bottle, margarita Clif blocks, sunscreen, and anti-chafing cream.  I also had on my 110% compression pants - which I usually wear for any run over 10 miles to help with cramping. It also makes it super easy to ice down after the run.
Not Impressed with today's run

So I waited a bit, hoping it would cool off some more and finally headed out about 10 minutes before 4 to tackle my 13 miles. I paced myself on speed and hydrating - not wanting to push myself too hard even though the recommended pace for the day was 9:30-10 min miles. The first few miles were ok. I was definitely doing positive splits, but was running most of the way.  I finally got out to the island, the only place with a water fountain on my whole run, and filled up, also splashing cold water on my face and wetting down my hat again (oh yeah, I had also done this before I left home too to try to help manage my temp). I walked away from the water fountain and did one lap around Belle Isle and knowing I needed to do another lap to try to make my distance, started on the second lap, but ended up walking the whole lap. The heat was really starting to get to me.  I was sweating - a lot - but didn't feel like I was salty sweating. And I noticed my hands were swollen.  I tried drinking more water and laying off the Clif blocks, even putting my hands over my head.  But nothing was helping.  At this point I was still determined to knock out all 13 miles - with about 5 more to go. 

Here's the other problem I was experiencing, besides the heat and humidity. Richmond, in my opinion, is a horrible place to try to do distance runs. I had the same problem last year when I moved here in the middle of marathon training. The farthest I ran here in my training for that was 17 miles - essentially wandering aimlessly through town trying to come up with the distance.  I even looked back at my old runs (thanks RunKeeper for the awesome log) to try to figure out where I should go today to hit my miles. Since its been raining a lot the last few days, some of my usual spots were not an option because they'd be all muddy. I hit the 8 mile mark and kept thinking - how am I going to get in 5 more miles from here? I kept going, thinking maybe I'd run on the road some, or up into the Church Hill neighborhood (loathing the idea of a hill workout at the end of 10 miles). But then I hit mile 9 and it hit me - I was out of water, I was hot, and I was done. I was not right by my house, so I ended up with 10.5 miles in the books for the day, but I basically walked home after I decided I was done. 

Here's why I feel defeated - I feel like I gave up. I had the physical strength to keep going - my muscles weren't tired. I had the mental strength right up until I talked myself into quitting. I let the voices in my head get the best of me today and talk me out of my last 2.5 miles. Ugh - saying that now I really feel defeated. I have amazing friends who tried to tell me I accomplished something big today, but internally I feel like I lost a battle today. And I also learned something I'm not sure how to fix between now and race day - if it's like this for Dumbo weekend, I'm not sure how I'm going to finish. Sure my overall pace would have kept me well in front of the sweepers, and even if I walked those last couple of miles on race day, I should be starting in an early enough corral that I can beat them to the finish. But that's not how I want to earn my medal. I want to run (or conga) across that finish line with a smile on my face - BOTH days. I want to feel amazing when I get that Dumbo Challenge medal AND my Coast to Coast after the half. I want to feel victorious - not defeated - on that day. 

The good news is I have another chance at this in my training plan before Dumbo. I'm going to seriously pay attention to my hydration EVERY day and start planning out a healthier eating plan (right after I finish my Cheezits). I will conquer that event - and every event on my fall calendar of craziness. Because with each run I learn something - about myself and about running. Today I learned I can be defeated and I learned I don't like to lose. 

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